Unlike most of the sports media world, I thought I would sit back and soak up the details before discussing my opinion on the scandal/drug testing fiasco involving the reigning National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun.
Thus far, we’ve heard the results of the appeal, some details involving the test, Braun’s comments and the MLB’s irate feelings on the entire situation.
A lot of questions still linger around Braun’s successful appeal, so let’s take a look at where we are now from three different perspectives; Braun himself, Major League Baseball and the Media.
Ryan Braun (Winner)
There’s no arguing that Braun came out on top of this entire ordeal while becoming the first ever player to successfully win an appeal while facing a suspension for ingesting a banned substance. But, did he really win?
If he truly took a banned substance, knowingly or not, than yes, he did win. But, if not, he looks like an unlucky victim in a case the public should have never heard of.
The rest of his career will surely be under a microscope and there will always be that uncertainty around the 2011 MVP season.
And that is why Braun came out so sincere and sharp in his riveting press conference on Friday.
Fortunately for Braun, his pointing words seemed to make believers out of a lot of people in knowing that he really did not take anything.
The Media (Should Be Neutral, But Losing)
When I say media, I mean ESPN, “The Network,” (as Braun referred to it as) or whatever you want to call it.
In any case, the media should never express opinions or jump to conclusions when breaking news. If you’re writing an editorial or discussing a topic, sure, say whatever you feel. But, when you’re informing the masses on new information, don’t start jumping to conclusions.
ESPN was specifically guilty of this at pretty much every spot along the timeline in Braun’s case. Maybe it’s a byproduct of the new age of Twitter or do-anything-for-the-best-story notion, but either way, it should be looked down upon.
The fact that a major news network can suggest that someone won a case on a “technicality” or was “lucky,” to escape without a suspension minutes after the decision was made public is simply a form of framing. So many people rely on ESPN for their sports news, the network is in essence writing the book on sports history and that just doesn’t seem right.
Only ESPN can make average-at-best sports players like Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow in to some of the best players on the planet. It just doesn’t make any sense and some credibility needs to be restored in the world of sports media.
Major League Baseball (Loser)
The biggest losers in all of this was the MLB. I think most people would agree with this, but most likely for all the wrong reasons.
Commissioner Bud Selig and the league have the right to be downright pissed off with how the hearing played out, but in reality, it has nothing to do with Braun.
Who knows how many millions of dollars they spent on testing, only for the test’s credibility to be thrown out the window in a matter of a day. The fact that the scientific method and confidentiality were ignored in Braun’s case is a tremendous failure of the system.
The league’s only wrong was not admitting that notion in specific detail. Instead, they went on an attack towards arbitrator Shyam Das when they should have been addressing the failure of protocol as Ryan Braun did in his press conference.
All-and-all, this story is far from over.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.